Dalton Adding Machine

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This ten-key printing manual adding machine has an black iron and glass frame with a steel keyboard painted green. Two rows of white plastic number keys are marked with digits and their complements (complements are in red). One could punch the digits of a number without setting the place of the first digit. Numbers with up to nine digits could be entered. The five red function keys read designate, eliminate, repeat, total, and correction. A place for a crank is on the right side, but no crank. The printing mechanism, with two-colored ribbon, is on the top of the machine. Apparently the machine does not print symbols. Nine-digit totals could be printed. The “nine-inch” movable carriage has a paper tape dispenser behind it, but no paper tape. The serrated edge above the platen for tears the paper tape.
A mark on the front reads: Dalton. A mark on a brass tag attached at the bottom front reads: Dalton (/) ADDING (/) MACHINE (/) CO. (/) POPLAR BLUFF,MO.U.S.A. This tag also reads: PAT. AUG. 1, 1899 NO. 630053 (/) REISSUE DEC. 27. ‘04 No. 12286 (/) PAT. SEPT. 24, 1912 NO. 1039130 (/) PAT. DEC. 31, 1912 NO. 1049057 (/) PAT. DEC. 31, 1912 NO. 1049093 (/) OTHER PATENTS PENDING. A metal tag attached at the bottom on the back reads: NO 17946.
The Dalton adding machine grew out of patents of Indiana-born St. Louis machinist Hubert Hopkins (b. 1859) and Chicago inventor Harry H. Helmick. Attempts to patent and manufacture a machine began in St. Louis in 1902. After complex business dealings, including intervention from other adding machine manufacturers, James L. Dalton (1866-1926) acquired exclusive rights to manufacture machines under the Hopkins patents. In late 1903 Dalton and his associates founded the Adding Typewriter Company of St. Louis (later the Dalton Adding Machine Company). By 1912 the firm was established in Dalton’s home town of Poplar Bluff, Missouri. This machine was made there. In 1914, the company moved to Norwood, Ohio, near Cincinnati.
P. A. Kidwell, “The Adding Machine Fraternity at St. Louis: Creating a Center of Invention, 1880-1920.” IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, 22 #2 (April-June 2000): pp. 14-15.
Currently not on view
date made
Dalton Adding Machine Company
place made
United States: Missouri, Poplar Bluff
Physical Description
iron (overall material)
steel (overall material)
glass (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
overall: 34.5 cm x 34 cm x 37 cm; 13 19/32 in x 13 3/8 in x 14 9/16 in
ID Number
accession number
maker number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Victor Comptometer Corporation
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Mathematics
Science & Mathematics
Adding Machines
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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